Photo: U.S. NTDP defenseman Keaton Thompson, shown here competing at the All-American Prospects Game last month, is a potential first round pick for the 2013 NHL Draft (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
What a difference a day can make.
I had the fortune of taking in the U.S. NTDP U-18 team’s first two games against college teams for this 2012-13 season, facing off against the University of Wisconsin and the University of Notre Dame back-to-back on the nights of October 6th and 7th.
Photo: Plymouth Whalers forward Ryan Hartman has moved to the OHL from the US national program in an effort to further improve his stock for the 2013 NHL Draft (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
For many, age ain’t nothing but a number. But for Plymouth Whalers’ forward Ryan Hartman, his date of birth — which found him five days too young to be drafted last year — played a key role to plotting a stop in the OHL en route to the NHL.
Photo: Luke Rendino of the NAHL's Michigan Warriors is another in a growing number of hockey players emerging from Southern California (courtesy of the NAHL)
At 5’11”, 160 pounds, Luke Rendino of the Michigan Warriors is so skinny that you can see his ribs. In fact, when he was injured in a 2-1 win over the Topeka Roadrunners in this year’s NAHL Showcase tournament, you could see where he was hurting as he ran his fingers over his ribcage.
Photo: Ryan Fitzgerald, a forward for the Valley Junior Warriors of the EJHL, had a memorable CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game as he tallied three assists and copped MVP honors at First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
It is unlikely that a quick scan of the rosters for the 2012 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game by the average observer would have produced much more than a shrug when coming across the name, Ryan Fitzgerald.
Photo: Former Olympic hockey star Rob McClanahan talks to the media at the 2012 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
The two coaches in the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game were two names not only associated with the past of the host team, the Buffalo Sabres, but they also carved out their own path to fame in the game of hockey.